Monday, May 2, 2016
Anti-War Committee – Chicago
For Release: Monday, May 02, 2016
5% of Boeing Stock Holders Vote for Resolution Challenging Arms Sales to Israel
For more information: Kait McIntyre 815-988-8631, Joe Iosbaker 773-301-0109
This morning, the Boeing Company held its annual stockholders meeting in Chicago. Members of the Anti-War Committee – Chicago (AWC) had submitted a resolution calling for the corporation to prepare a report detailing its arms sales to Israel, and when the votes were counted, Boeing’s board of directors reported that 5% of their stockholders voted in favor of the resolution. The directors stated that 88% of the stockholders had cast votes.
According to Kait McIntyre of the AWC, most people have no idea that Boeing is a major weapons contractor. “If the public knew how many weapons were being provided to the Israeli military for its wars on Gaza, opposition to the weapons sales would grow,” she said.
Israel recently completed its largest arms deal with the U.S., to purchase almost $2 billion in missiles, bombs, and guidance systems for bombs. Boeing manufactures most of the components of these, including the guidance systems that turn regular bombs into “smart bombs.” A report by Amnesty International – UK showed that the bombings which caused the most casualties in Gaza came from Boeing’s laser guided, one ton bombs, the MK-84/GBU-31. Israel is purchasing 10,000 of these smart bomb kits.
AWC has been active in solidarity with the Palestinian people since its founding in 2012. In 2014, three of its members—McIntyre, Newland Smith, and Joe Iosbaker—were among those arrested protesting Boeing Headquarters in Chicago during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s devastating assault on Gaza that killed over 2100 Palestinians.
In the past several years, members of the AWC had purchased shares in the Boeing Company in order to bring a resolution before the stockholders, have been working with the Interfaith Council on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). Sister Gwen Farry of ICCR and the 8th Day Center for Justice spoke in favor of the resolution during the company meeting.
When the resolution was first submitted, the Boeing board of directors refused to accept it. According to Richard Berg, who submitted it, “The Boeing board refused to submit our resolution to the stockholders, saying it interfered with the regular business of the company.”
On February 5th, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission overruled the directors. The board continued to oppose the resolution. “Boeing then said this sale is controversial to a small number of individual shareholders. This is more evidence of the growing impact of the movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction [BDS] Israel,” explained McIntyre.
The company has a threshold for shareholder activism. To continue to press an issue, a resolution must achieve 3% of the votes. Newland Smith said, “With 5%, we can continue to press this issue next year. By then, we hope to reach the next threshold, which is 6%,so we can continue this campaign.